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Running and reducing lower body fat


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I am starting to believe this now

I have seen several people claim that they have lost their pear shape since taking up running...

And recently I read a fitness "expert" in a women's health magazine say that running reduces body fat in the lower body..

But everyone says you can't spot reduce fat!??

What's the whole truth?

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You can't spot reduce. When you lose weight, you lose where you've gained last. Let's create an example of one person who gained first in their stomach, then hips, then butt, then thighs, and then arms. They are most likely going to lose extra fat first in their arms, then thighs, then butt, then hips, and then stomach. Yes, it's not perfect because our body tends to place fat in a more distributed way, but for a generalized idea, this is what usually happens.

Plus, a person can't "lose" their natural shape. Your shape is where your body distributes the most fat and how your muscles are placed among your body. You can tone and create a leaner version of your shape, but your can't really change it (note girls who've lost weight or are thinner, but still have larger hips and thighs vs someone with broader shoulders, etc).

Hope this helps!

I agree with the OP to a point. I've noticed significant decrease in the fat of my legs/thighs from running. It may be a part of overall fat loss but running is definately helping me a ton :)  Hope I was somewhat encouraging to you to just start running and see where it leads ya :)

hmmmm thanks!

It may be that running increases lean muscle in the lower body so you look tighter and therefore slimmer...

I am not a fan of running due to bad technique and risk of injury - but I will try to get good and see what happens! ;)

Original Post by pibblety:
And recently I read a fitness "expert" in a women's health magazine say that running reduces body fat in the lower body..

But everyone says you can't spot reduce fat!??

What's the whole truth?

The first sentence contains the main problem: "in a women's health magazine."

Both my wife and I agree that "health magazines" aimed at the general public tend to do more harm than good because they raise unrealistic expectations in their readers, combining not only ineffective workout and diet techniques but also sometimes blatant falsehoods like what you noticed above.

This is also true of men's magazines, which play just as much to the male ego and vanity as women's magazines do for women with half-truths and "no, you don't have to work hard!" pats on the back while pushing diet pills and worthless gadgets.

No, one does not spot-reduce or pick where to lose fat from.

The problem is uneven fat accumulation, which leads to what only appears to be uneven fat loss.

Think of it like snowdrifts in winter.  A combination of factors will lead to snow accumulating in differing amounts throughout a yard or park or field (trees in the way, wind blowing drifts around, scattered flurries, even plowing/shoveling activities).  All of that is like fat depositing on the body.

When the weather warms up, though, the snow melts all at the same time & rate.  In early spring, what's left are the remnants of the largest mounds of snow.

Same with fat, for illustrative purposes.

Running does not reduce fat on legs, just like 12,038 sit-ups do not reduce fat on bellies.  If brian702lose noticed a significant decrease in his legs (congrats, by the way -- that and your PRs!), then the more likely and simplest reason is because there was more there to begin with (plus, with his training, it's probably going to feel like it as well).

All I can say is that for 2 months I was running-lost 2 inches off my thighs. For 2 months after I stopped due to a stress fracture--lost nothing off my thighs. I started running again and I've lost off my thigh again. 

Kept losing off my hips the whole time though. That's just my story though :)

I think exercise and dieting (eating at a deficit and/or cleaner eating), helps to body fat loss better than dieting alone. I lost over all weight fine with dieting  but I lost body fat % better with weight lifting, cardio (I do low impact though) and eating at a deficit.

I went from 160lbs tight in my size 10 pants to 155-148lbs to comfy/loose in same pants with eating at a deficit and some dog walking, in about three months. At 145lbs with weight lifting, more walking (on a treadmill on an incline this time), eating at a deficit, clean eating and staying at the same weight (I plateaued a bit), went from tight unwearable in public size 6 to slight muffin top and wearable in public, in one month. 

So here is the magazine article I am referring to FYI: (the page is entitled " running news") Myth: a long run is the best way to lose fat. Fact: that's true to an extent. Long runs help burn fat below the waist, but, interval training is most effective in burning visceral fat and upper body fat.

This was apparently written by Joey Duck, who I have discovered Is a young athlete looking to run in the Olympics http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joey_Duck

Some food for thought there
Original Post by fitnfierce:

All I can say is that for 2 months I was running-lost 2 inches off my thighs. For 2 months after I stopped due to a stress fracture--lost nothing off my thighs. I started running again and I've lost off my thigh again. 

Kept losing off my hips the whole time though. That's just my story though :)


WOW what was your training routine??
#9  
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Running is amazing, i started 1 month ago, ive already lost 1 stone of weight within a month...my actually belly though, its lost alot... my thights, legs and stomach are looking so much better, to all those trying to lose weight, i advise running/jogging.
when i first did it i was out of breath so easily. So start slow, and work your way up in both speed and stamina...after you get used to a slow/short speed you will continue to grow and grow. Yesterday i jogged all the way there and back to my house (granted some of it was slower speed than other sections) but my stamina is there, i wasnt extremely out of breath and my body was handling it.
Your breathing improves too...you learn how to get the air into your lungs and through your system alot smoother :)
ive been trying to lose weight for ages and it wasnt until i incorperated running that im actually seeing a serious difference. Im only doing 20-30 mins each day but the difference is huge. Ive ran everyday for 3 weeks apart from a 2 day break when i went on a holiday...during the holiday my body healed and i felt great. But not only that, people at my work are noticing too. I told my friend Scott about me going out running. I am fat, and i mean that. probably about 240lb when i started (125kg) now im down to about 110kg since the 4 weeks (this is the 4th week) swallowed my pride told him im taking up running and just gonna wing it. people can say what they want, as if my self confidence could take anymore of ab attering anyway...its time to change...you guys and girls can all do it...just clench your fists and fight the sky. life is too short to be getting treated like **** because your fat :) time to fight back

Original Post by pibblety:

Original Post by fitnfierce:

All I can say is that for 2 months I was running-lost 2 inches off my thighs. For 2 months after I stopped due to a stress fracture--lost nothing off my thighs. I started running again and I've lost off my thigh again. 

Kept losing off my hips the whole time though. That's just my story though :)


WOW what was your training routine??

I was on track--might have helped. Did mid-distance. 3-4 miles a day and other days we did intervals or sprints. Now I'm back to running but doing it slowly, building up 1/2 a mile per week--I'm losing again. I think if you run you will lose inches :) 

If she's a professional runner, she probably has exceptional genetics and has never had enough body fat to worry about losing it.  

Correlation doesn't prove causation.  Just because she runs and has low body fat doesn't mean that running will magically burn stomach fat.  She could play any sport and likely would look similar to the way she looks now.

I'm sure that plenty of people lost fat by running, but running will not magically burn the fat on your lower body.  A calorie deficit will cause you to lose fat everywhere and some people will lose fat on their legs earlier and other people later.  Spot reduction is bogus.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is either a liar, gullible, or doesn't understand the difference between correlation and causation.

Most people can't look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club.  He got that look with a stupid and inefficient workout, but he had the genetics such that his body would respond to almost any workout, even the marginal one his nitwit trainer provided him.

If you could get 1000 people to do his workout for 3 months, maybe  of them would get a similar look.  The rest of them would be disappointed like the people who read this bs article and think that their spare tire will disappear by running.

 

 

You CANNOT spot reduce!

 

Genetics are the determining factor for where you lose fat first on your body regardless of what personal accounts may be posted in this thread.

 

For some that will be the lower body, others the upper body.

 

One thing's for sure, running while being on a caloric deficit will aid weight loss, like many other exercises or physical activities.  There is nothing magical or mystical about it. It's cheap and effective that's all.

Original Post by smashley23:

If she's a professional runner, she probably has exceptional genetics and has never had enough body fat to worry about losing it.  

Correlation doesn't prove causation.  Just because she runs and has low body fat doesn't mean that running will magically burn stomach fat.  She could play any sport and likely would look similar to the way she looks now.

I'm sure that plenty of people lost fat by running, but running will not magically burn the fat on your lower body.  A calorie deficit will cause you to lose fat everywhere and some people will lose fat on their legs earlier and other people later.  Spot reduction is bogus.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is either a liar, gullible, or doesn't understand the difference between correlation and causation.

Most people can't look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club.  He got that look with a stupid and inefficient workout, but he had the genetics such that his body would respond to almost any workout, even the marginal one his nitwit trainer provided him.

If you could get 1000 people to do his workout for 3 months, maybe  of them would get a similar look.  The rest of them would be disappointed like the people who read this bs article and think that their spare tire will disappear by running.

 

 

She's right in that I was eating at a caloriendeficit. but I did other activites and didn't lose thigh inches--but did lose everywhere else-, once I started running I lost inches off my thighs. Seemed like more than a coincidence, but no one really knows. 

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